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Physics Lab - Latent Heat of Fusion

             This experiment was conducted with the goal of applying the method of mixtures protocol to determine the latent heat of fusion of ice. Three trials were conducted using a calorimeter with water at room temperature and ice along with known values of specific heat of water and the calorimeter to determine the unknown latent heat of fusion. Using the formula for latent heat of fusion, the three trials yielded 3.01 x 105 J/kg, 2.97 x 105 J/kg, and 2.70 x 105 J/kg with percent error 9.6%, 11.9%, and 19.9% respectively.
             The purpose of this experiment is to determine the latent heat fusion of ice. Physics for Dummies reports that latent heat is the heat needed to cause a change in phase per kilogram.[1] The law of conservation of energy states that energy is neither created nor destroyed.[2] Instead, energy is transferred; the first Law of Thermodynamics is examined. The thermal energy exchange within our water sample creates a change in our water temperature and the state of our water produces water particles that are more active (when heated) when internal thermal energy is released or less active when internal thermal energy is cooled (with cold or iced water).[3] This change in internal energy can be expressed as the change of our water sample's internal energy (heated vs. cooled) as cold water and/or piece of ice is introduced to the system.[4] .
             The use of a calorimeter device ensures that our internal environment is controlled with appropriate seals that inhibit water vapor from escaping the device while recording temperatures. An appropriately insulated device ensures an accurate temperature reading for each trial. Each of our water samples were provided several minutes to reach equilibrium, with an appropriate allotment of time for thermal energy transfer to take place. The thermal energy can be referred to as kinetic energy since the activity of the water molecules are changed (due to an increased or suppressed internal temperature of system) based on the temperature of the water; our water was constantly losing thermal energy when provided time for temperature to decrease within several minutes.

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